Historic Detroit

Every building in Detroit has a story — we're here to share it

Little Rock Missionary Baptist Church

The Central Woodward Christian Church, now known as Historic Little Rock Missionary Baptist Church, is a Gothic Revival style church and was built in 1928.

Little Rock Missionary Baptist was established in April 1936 under the pastorage of Reverend Robert E. Tate. At the time there was a small but faithful band of six worshippers. Brothers and Sisters Hooks and E. Robinson, mothers Della Brown and Gailiard. Church services were held at the home of Brother and Sister Hooks at 1314 East Willis Street, Detroit, Michigan. In this small adequate Christian home the word of God provided the light to guide their path and the love of fellowship. These excited pioneers spread the good news far and near and membership steadily increased. Recognizing the need for a larger church the congregation moved to a new building at 3734 Russell. The congregation continued to flourish and made great strides under the pastorage of Reverend Tate until his death on July 17, 1953.

Reverend Theodore R. Provost was installed as the new pastor on February 15, 1954. Under his leadership the church relocated to 7639 Mack Avenue. Reverend Provost labored at the church until 1959, when he was called to pastor a church in San Francisco, California.

During the next decade the church experienced several changes in leadership. These changes began when the faithful in Christ banded together and called Reverend Walter L. LaBeaux of San Antonio, Texas who pastored from 1960 to 1962. The church leadership then called Reverend John Bussell on April 10, 1963. He pastored until July 1967. On March 20, 1968 the call was extended to Reverend Clarence L. Townsell. In January 1969 the church relocated to 4903 Maxwell Street. In less than a year, Reverend Townsell in his role as pastor and preacher enabled the church to also purchase the adjacent parsonage. He continued his good works until 1971.

Reverend Jim Holley was called to pastor to Little Rock Missionary Baptist Church on June 9, 1972. After seven years of faithful service and continuing growth, Reverend Holley and the congregation moved to the current beautiful edifice at Woodward and Josephine - 9000 Woodward Avenue, in August, 1979. This neo-gothic cathedral had formerly housed the Central Woodward Christian Church (now located in Troy) for fifty years. They were forced to abandon the building due to a shrinking white enrollment.

The combination of Reverend Holley's skillful leadership, the central geographic location and their evangelistic mission caused the church membership to multiply and prosper. The mortgage was burned on March 15, 1987. A major renovation of the building interior was completed in 1990. The improvements included a number of new stained glass windows, pastors office study, choir loft, pulpit area, lower auditorium, kitchen and lavatories.

Interior images coming soon.

Last updated 10/03/2023